20 Things You Need for a Home Insurance Quote
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After you become a homeowner, you'll have a piece of property in your name. You'll need the right homeowners insurance coverage to protect your new asset. Shopping for homeowners insurance doesn't have to be time-consuming or difficult. When you're prepared, buying homeowners insurance can be a streamlined process.
Here are 20 things you'll need to access a homeowners insurance quote.
Why Do I Need a Homeowners Insurance Policy?
Homeowners insurance provides coverage for private residences. These policies help homeowners repair or replace their homes, furnishings or other assets if a named peril is the cause of a loss. These perils may include:
- Water Damage
- Falling Objects
- Smoke and fire damage
- Property damages from ice, sleet and heavy snow
- Riot or civil unrest
In some cases, your homeowners insurance policy can provide protection when a person suffers an accident or injury because of a hazard on your property.
What Options Are Available With Homeowners Insurance Policies?
Home insurance carriers offer a few options that will meet the coverage needs of property owners. Most policies have several options, including:
Dwelling Coverage - It is part of your homeowners insurance policy. This coverage pays to repair your home's physical structure after a named peril damages it.
Personal Property Coverage - This part covers your belongings if they are stolen, damaged or destroyed by a covered peril in your homeowners insurance policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most carriers offer 50 to 70 percent of the insurance amount on the structure of a home.
Other Structures Coverage - This is the part of your homeowners coverage that covers structures on the property. These structures are usually separated from your dwelling by a clear space. They connect to your dwelling through a utility line, fence or related property connection.
- tool sheds
- detached garages
- swimming pools, and
Liability Coverage - The liability coverage portion of a policy protects you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damages that family members or residents cause to other people. This coverage also pays for injuries caused by your pets, as long as they aren't a breed excluded by your homeowners insurance policy.
Additional Living Expenses - This coverage on your policy pays for the living expenses of people who can't live within a home due to property damage following a covered peril. It covers restaurant bills, hotel expenses and other charges until the homeowner can move back into their place.
Information You'll Need for Your Homeowners Insurance Quote
Homeowners insurance quotes are estimates of the premiums you'll pay on a policy. Here are 20 things you need for a home insurance quote:
- Your home's square footage
- Your neighborhood
- Nearby fire stations
Every insurance company has a different formula to calculate home insurance rates. You'll get a better rate if you use an online comparison tool like Smart Financial. It will help you compare quotes from several different companies so you can select the best one. To start, enter your zip code on this page.
1.) Identifying information
A home insurance agent will ask for your personal information. Insurance companies use this information to create a profile to help them determine your homeowners insurance premiums.
Your personal information should include:
- Your name
- Social Security number
- Marital status, and
- the house address you want to insure.
The insurance company will use your Social Security number to run a credit check on you. If you have good credit, you'll pay a lower rate on your home insurance. If you have blemished or damaged credit, you'll pay more for insurance. They will also determine whether you're eligible for homeowners insurance discounts.
2.) Your Coverage Options and Insurance Limits
The coverages and limits you choose for a homeowners insurance policy will help determine how much you pay for homeowners insurance. So choose your insurance carefully. You will need to have this information ready when an insurance agent asks for it.
3.) Home Renovations and Repairs
Don't be surprised if an insurance agent asks about your home's previous renovations and repairs. Have you or the previous homeowner done major renovations on your home? If you are not sure about past renovations and work on your home, an agent may be able to get this information by asking for local building permits for your property.
4.) Your Home's Current Condition
Another thing you should consider when seeking a home insurance company is the current condition of your home.
- What kind of current shape of your home?
- How old is the plumbing?
- What about the furnace or water heater?
- How new are your kitchen appliances?
- Do you have a fireplace?
- When were the bathrooms last done?
All these questions help agents assess the value of your home that they are looking to insure. They ask these questions to determine your home's current condition and how much it will cost to repair or rebuild your house due to a covered loss.
5.) The Age of Your Home
Your insurance company will ask you about the age of your home. In general, older homes cost more to insure. So if you have your eye on a newer or brand-new home, you'll pay a little less in homeowners insurance.
6.) The Size of Your House
What is the square footage of your house? The larger your home, the more you will pay for insurance. A small one-bedroom condo will be less to insure than a two-story house with a yard. So have your home's dimensions ready when you talk to an insurance agent.
7.) Security and Safety Features
Insurance carriers will ask about any safety features you've installed in your home. They ask about these devices to determine your liability and future chances of filing a claim.
Alarm systems and smoke detectors make your home safer, and these safety features help lower your insurance quote. Burglar alarms also discourage some thieves from breaking into your home and stealing your belongings. So, consider adding these safety features to your home if you don't have them already. If you do, your homeowners coverage rate will dip lower.
8.) Your Claims History
If you have filed claims on your homeowners insurance in the past, you will pay more on your homeowners policy and increase your current insurance quote. Homeowners without claims will pay less for their insurance than homeowners who have made claims in the past.
9.) Type of Materials in Your Home
Is your homemade of brick or stone? If it is, your home will be cheaper to insure than a home made of wood, which could more easily catch fire. Be ready with this information for an insurance agent.
10.) Your Belongings
Do you have valuables in your home, such as jewelry or even expensive electronics? If you do, you may need additional coverage for the personal property in your home. It will increase your homeowners insurance quote.
11.) How Long You've Lived in Your Home
Just moved into your home, or have you been there for a decade? An insurance agent wants to know.
12.) Household Information
An insurance agent will ask how many people are living in the house. They may also ask about the pets you have at home, such as dogs and cats? Answer all these questions honestly.
13.) A Home Business
Work from home in your home business? An insurance agent will ask you about this and your stay-at-home career. They may ask questions about business partners and the types of events you hold in your home.
14.) Current Coverage Details
An insurance agent will ask for information about your current homeowners policy. What is the name of the company, and what are your dates of coverage?
15.) When Do You Want to Start Coverage?
When would you like your coverage to start? Let the agent know about your planned start date for your home insurance coverage.
16.) Style of House
Is your home one or two stories? Is your home a particular style, such as colonial? How many bedrooms and how many bathrooms? Give the insurance agents all the details you can.
17.) Age of Roof
How old is your home's roof, and what materials did builders use to construct it? Is it metal, slate or shingles? An insurance agent wants to know.
18.) Detached Structure(s)
Is there a detached structure such as a tool shed or a sauna in your backyard? Let the insurance agent know about any additional buildings in your yard.
19.) Do You Have a Mortgage?
Is there an outstanding mortgage on the home? Mortgage companies require homeowners to carry homeowners insurance if they have financed their homes. You will need to let an insurance agent know that you are currently financing your home.
20.) Proximity to Fire Station
A company called Insurance Service Office (ISO) creates ratings for fire stations and their surrounding communities. It provides an ISO Fire Score to fire stations to homeowners insurance companies.
If you live close to a fire station, you will pay less on your insurance than someone who lives far away from one. So check your neighborhood for fire stations. And let an insurance agent know how close you live to one.
Bundle Insurance Policies for Discounts
You can save money when you bundle your home insurance policy with other coverage you already have with the same insurer. Many insurers allow you to combine your home insurance with your auto policy.
Leading Homeowners Insurance Carriers in the United States
U.S. News and World Report recently released its list of the nation's leading home insurance companies. They included:
Lemonade - Founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Daniel Schreiber, Shai Wininger and Ty Sagalow, this carrier provides services entirely online. Lemonade provides coverage for personal belongings, equipment and other items without a deductible.
State Farm - According to U.S. News and World Report, State Farm is one of the top home insurance companies within the nation. State Farm is also a leading auto insurance carrier. It is one of the few companies that offers home insurance in all 50 states.
USAA - This carrier offers homeowners insurance only to service members, veterans and their families. It is the only carrier to offer identity theft coverage in its homeowners insurance policies.
Allstate - This insurer provides scheduled personal property coverage for highly appraised items. They also provide replacement cost coverage for specific items like sports equipment, musical instruments or gardening equipment.
Shop Smart by Shopping Around for a Good Rate
Now that you are prepared to get a home insurance quote, you are ready for the next step.
Shopping around to multiple home insurance companies. It is the best way to get a good deal on homeowners insurance.
Just input your zip code below to begin filling out a brief questionnaire letting SmartFinancial know the kind of home insurance coverage you want. Do you want the most affordable home insurance policy, or are you looking for more comprehensive coverage? They'll match you with the right agent.
SmartFinancial will compare more than 200 carriers, so you are bound to find the right insurance company with the coverage you want at a price you can afford in no time. After you get a homeowners insurance quote, review it carefully and consider bundling an auto insurance policy with the same insurance company for a discount.